* Posts by Flocke Kroes

2601 posts • joined 19 Oct 2007

Agile development exposed as techie superstition

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There were studies ...

You will find a list of some at the end of this fine advice for programmers. As the most modern reference is for '92 I can understand why only grey beards are aware of them.

Wanna break Microsoft's Edge browser? Google's explained how

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Re: Or ...

Browsers are far too complicated for use with anything that requires security.

You've got pr0n: Yes, smut by email is latest workaround for UK's looming cock block

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Re: "Users don't need to supply any personally identifiable information to sign up"

Using a fake name breaks the terms of service for. That means you are accessing a computer without authorisation and will be sent to prison for hacking. Watch out - the police will be calling on you soon Mr Herring.

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Re: Getting flash to last a decade

Over-provisioning is effective, but there are two other tricks that I find work. Flash is made by Samsung, Intel/Micron and Toshiba. Buy from one of them as directly as you can. Buy from someone that specialises in electronics. Anywhere else will be sold under-provisioned second hand fakes because they lack the skills to identify what they buy.

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Re: That time of the month where I collect downvotes

The government isn't aiming to capable of build an impenetrable barrier

But if someone offered them one, millions of pounds would be poured down the drain before they realised they had been conned. I really do not give a damn what the government intends. What matters is the extensive collateral damage they will cause with their pointless pet projects.

Back when the Roman occupation was getting down to business, the famous quote was "What we do in public with the best, you do in secret with the worst". Somehow the country was able to function for thousands of years when it was normal for people to boink in public. A couple of hundred years ago there were island cultures with the same attitude.

If you want an internet porn filter go out and buy one yourself. I do not see why my taxes should fund your fear of nudity. Increased broadband connectivity correlates with a decrease in sexual assaults on women. Where do you want your perverts: At home looking at porn or looking for work in a school?

First SpaceX Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket lobs comms sat into orbit

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Re: total lack of any commercial demand for such a vehicle

$62 for a Falcon 9 launch compared to about $10M for a BFR. BFR will not be short of customers. BFR changes the market in other ways. Today satellites use expensive solar panels to keep the mass down. If mass is no problem you can use less efficient ones twice the size and much lower cost. Add a really big fuel tank and the satellite can stay in position for ages. With a BFR you can use big focusing antennas to aim at cities rather than countries.

NASA boss insists US returning to the Moon after Peanuts to show for past four decades

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Where's the money?

To convince me Lucy will not snatch the ball away again, the first thing Bridenstine needs to do is point at some budget allocated to landing stuff on the moon.

Yes, people see straight through male displays of bling (they're only after a fling)

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Re: it pays to learn a little about cars

How much does it pay?

I really do know a _little_ about cars. Sufficiently little that I am unlikely to be able to tell the difference between a second hand bargain and a second hand disaster. If you can tell the difference then you do not know far more than a little about cars. Perhaps for you, learning about cars is fun and you did not notice the time flying. For me it would be a boring slog so it would have to pay really well - better than a mechanic or second hand car dealer.

Industry whispers: Qualcomm mulls Arm server processor exit

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Perspective from the small side

I am fairly sure my experience is the complete opposite of people responsible for racks of servers with high utilisation.

I have no problem finding the software I need for ARM. I am familiar with it. I can rarely find an Intel small enough or cheap enough for the task at hand. When Intel comes within a mile of selling something suitable, it either needs a fan or turns out to be broken with a "Won't fix because embedded has no budget". This has given me a strong preference for making the problem smaller rather than buying Intel. The three ARMs I have an ssh connection to have uptimes of over 200 days. The Intel has an uptime of 5 days (to be fair it often lasts 30).

There is a good reason I do not expect big ARM servers this year: If Google or Amazon do not like Intel's prices they can buy an ARM license and new Intel prices will arrive promptly. (My prediction for next year has about the same chance of being right as Gartner.)

It's World (Terrible) Password (Advice) Day!

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Since when has biometric become sane? I open the door to a shop and forget to wipe my fingerprints off the door handle. I had better change my authentication token. I buy a snack and take my Halloween mask off to eat it. My face is now on CCTV recordings in all the surrounding buildings. The office buys a really expensive retinal scanner that checks for a pulse. A thief takes your eye and tries to fool the scanner by squashing the eyeball. Do you care if the scanner spots the problem?

Biometric must not be inflicted on people capable of remembering their passwords.

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Password for people with bad memories

Set the password to 'incorrect' and tell them to try any word at all. If they guess wrong the computer will them what the password is.

Typical cynical Brits: Broadband speeds up, satisfaction goes down

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Where I live speed isn't the problem

I can already download adverts far faster than I can click on them. More speed is not going to earn anyone else more money.

Right at the top of my list is the ritual needed to cancel. If it involves sacrificing a manticor on the third full moon in the February two years in advance then the ISP loses a point. If the ritual is so top secret that you cannot find out what it is before signing up then the ISP loses two points.

The next up is the cost of the technical support line. I do not want to call it ever. If I have no call it I want the ISP to suffer too. If the support line is £10/minute with 45 minutes on hold until the hell desk operator tells me I have to call the other support number then I would expect the service to break down every time the ISP wants a revenue boost.

Last up: bundled services. Every single one is an incentive for the ISP to block access to a competitive/competent provider. Absence really will make my heart grow fonder.

That Brexit in action: UK signs pact to let Euro court judge its patents

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Re: The questionable thing to do.

Before UPC:

Pick an EU country you and the victim have in common. Argue your case there and the result applies to the whole of Europe. You get a judge with some understanding of patent law, little idea about technology but with a real threat that he might make an effort to learn. The judge has income independent of the patent system. His rulings are likely to be a bit random and probably will not be biased in your favour.

Plan for after UPC:

Go to the UPC get a judge who thoroughly understands patent law and might understand something about technology. The judge will a patent professional who has invested years of his time specialising in the patent system. Your victim will be found guilty if he does not settle. If he settles, take the money in the UK so you will not have to pay tax.

In the UK our politicians have been convinced that patents have some sort of constructive function, and mostly tried to push the worst of the UK patent system into Europe out of ignorance. The rest of Europe is a mixture, but some of them understand the damage that the patent system causes and try to limit it. The UPC is the end-game in regulatory capture: everything about patents will decided by patent lawyers with no hope of appeal outside their cabal.

Blighty stuffs itself in Galileo airlock and dares Europe to pull the lever

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Re: Yet Another Satellite Navigation System

The reason for Galileo is so the EU can have precision GPS even if the US says no you can't. I am sure there is plenty of room for argument about whether that reason is worth the money for the EU. For the UK, £350 million per week for most of a year should pay for it, and thanks to Brexit, we will have an extra £350 million per week for anything and everything by delaying the money promised for the NHS.

Civilian GPS is subject to spoofing. Military GPS is supposed to be able to deal with it, but at a cost. A huge cost. Such a huge enormous cost that even with their gigantic budget, parts of the US military use civilian GPS. So many civilian GPS units that the US decided turning on selective availability hurt them more than their enemies.

One satellite tells you the time. A second gives you a pair of big egg shaped lines for where you could be. With three, the GPS gives you a position but has to assume you are at sea level to do it. This may have consequences for aircraft and missiles. You need four to get altitude, and if any three are on the same great circle (like geostationary) one of the three gives you no useful information. To avoid the great circle problem you effectively need at least two rocket launches. A cube sat cannot direct its power limited signal accurately enough to get enough signal from geostationary orbit to a hand held GPS antenna.

If you are not launching till you need the satellites you then have to buy a bunch of kit that cannot be tested and has no civilian use to bring the price down to something sane.

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Re: Failure cases

Article 50 was clear. It said if you leave the EU you will be buggered by all the member states on the way out. That was the intention and it is working as planned. For such a short section of treaty it has proved most effective. Who ever came up with it must have thought it through properly.

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" if I could vote on who was in charge of the EU" ...

You did for a President of the Council of the European Union for H2 2017. It was going to be a Brit, but the Brexits gave us Jüri Ratas of Estonia.

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Re: Food

One problem/benefit with posting as AC is that people are not sure if contradictory statements come from the same person:

"The entire purpose of Brexit is not to have EU decide for UK and certainly not to have the US doing it either."

"the EU permitted azo colouring in food"

"I'm one of those people that don't see any need to change them [EU food and safety standards] at all"

So you want to keep EU food and safety standards as is with azo colouring, not let the EU decide for the UK and remove the UK's influence when setting EU food and safety standards. Next time there is an election or referendum, you can indicate your preference for contradictory proposals by ticking all the options.

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Re: £14 billion

Looks like (£350 million - rebate) x 52

Well done for remembering the rebate. That makes you a better informed AC than 90% of Brexiters. After a bit of discussion with Bremainers, Brexiters switch position: instead of claiming all that money goes to the EU and never comes back, they pretend they always know the bulk of the money comes back in the form of development grants, science funding and pork. They then say the reason for Brexit is control: that money will no longer be controlled by a bunch of unelected MEPs (yes really), it will be controlled instead by the intelligent honest qualified professionals who inhabit the house of commons.

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I hate to break it to you

UK politicians have been a bunch of spoilt morons for years. You insisted they negotiate a bunch of important trade deals. WTF did you expect to happen?

By all means ask the EU for a refund. If they are tired of laughing at us, you might even get a polite reply along the lines of: "We've got the money, we're keeping it."

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Stick to British technology

Use a difference engine to create an ephemeris, precision clockwork for time keeping and a sextant. We invented longitude. Any time we want to mess with Galilieo, we just have to make the location of Greenwich a state secret.

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Re: Non-EU

It is a big mix. Some Brexits have deluded themselves into thinking that that Galileo is an ESA project and as ESA is more than the just EU, the UK could stay with ESA and remain on the inside track of the Galileo project.

ESA plays an important part of Galileo and provides some of the funding. Galileo was supposed to be funded by a public/private partnership. As US GPS is free, the private side saw no way to get a return on their investment so kept their cheque books shut. The EU decided they needed an accurate GPS that the Americans could not switch to approximate mode (or off). They found the bulk of the money. If the UK is not in the EU, then the same logic that funded Galileo implies that the EU needs a GPS that the UK cannot bugger about with.

When the UK voted Brexit, every other state in the EU saw an opportunity to divide the UK's share of EU pork among themselves. As the UK has negotiated away its voting rights, we can expect future negotiations to go like this.

EU under pressure to slap non-compliance notice on Google over pay-to-play 'remedy'

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Re: Criminal Records etc

OK: someone gets convicted, there is an article covering the conviction on the online version of a local newspaper. Years pass and the conviction is spent but the article is still there, probably with a single author and a pitiful amount of cash in reserve for legal defence. The author might stand up to one person but find two others he has written about with spent convictions and you should be able to get him to wipe himself of the internet. The down side is that will not get you any cash. To make a living from this you have to sue someone with money.

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Re: Waiting for the EU is a waste of time

EU fines are large and fund reduced taxes for everyone, but never hold your breathe. Previous judgements from the EU took so long to arrive that the market changed drastically. Both the complainer and the complaint became irrelevant by the time the fine arrived.

The right to be forgotten laws just point an enormous Streisand at whatever you did that you now find embarrassing. Just create some fake news with your name, someone else's picture and a random address. That will push your cock-up down the ranks far faster than farting about with paperwork.

I remember Foundem from when this complaint first started. Price comparison sites are all lousy, some are dishonest but Foundem stood out as being particularly craptacular. They must have put in considerable effort to drive visitors away and earn a bottom of page ten rank.

Luckily for them, Microsoft was getting close to the end of another abuse of monopoly power argument with the EU, and their lawyers were looking for a way to justify their pay checks. At the time Microsoft thought they could squash Google and own the internet. The way forward was clear: Microsoft would give free legal advise to anyone with something resembling a complaint against Google that could be taken to the EU. There is more money available for complaining about Google to the EU than their is for a fourth rate price comparison site.

If you go not like Google, use a different search engine.

You're a govt official. You accidentally slap personal info on the web. Quick, blame a kid!

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Re: Seems like deja vu

A decade ago Jerry Taylor - who has "22 years in computer systems engineering and operation" - got famous for threatening to complain to FBI about Centos because his web site had Centos's "Apache not configured" page on it. According to Mr Taylor, the guy from Centos giving him free technical support "Put in on TheRegistry", where you can find stories about the aftermath. The link to the transcript of the emails is now broken, but copies remain in dusty corners of the internet.

Goverment officials have clearly learned from this, hence the right to be forgotten.

Microsoft has designed an Arm Linux IoT cloud chip. Repeat, an Arm Linux IoT cloud chip

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Re: Initial development time not the only consideration

The next biggest concern is what happens when then Intel Management Engine / Pluton firmware is found to be a giant vulnerability. Will you get a fixed and signed replacement firmware after only five years or will you get a defective off switch after three years and support cancelled two years later.

No source code, no sale. If you cannot set the boot code verification key, put the box in the landfill with the Windows RT tablets.

Torvalds schedules Linux kernel 5.0, then maybe delays 'meaningless' release

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Re: So much for not being predictable

In the outside world, a step change in version number indicates a large increase in price.

Microsoft's five-billion-buck IoT R&D plan is just business as usual

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Re: US$5,000,000,000

... and only one bug!

Facebook can’t count, says Cambridge Analytica

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Re: So, reading

"There is a piece of paper out there somewhere with '30 million' written on it and we are not sure all the copies have been shredded."

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Re: Changing minds not required

The decision that CA needed to influence was "Could I be bothered to go out and vote today".

Danish Navy expert finds no trace of exhaust gas in private submarine

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Re: Why dismember the corpse ...

Have you tried climbing a ladder and getting through a narrow hatch at the top while carrying a whole corpse? It is not as easy as it sounds. I recommend looping rope under the arms, climbing up and pulling the corpse up after you but if you forgot to pack rope and all you brought was a bow saw, you just have to make do.

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Next explanation ...

He dropped her off at the shore then she dismembered herself, swam back to the sub, poisoned herself with exhaust fumes and hit herself on the head while scuttling the ship. He tried to rescue her, but she escaped into the sea.

Here's the list of Chinese kit facing extra US import tariffs: Hard disk drives, optic fiber, PCB making equipment, etc

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Back when Europe had import duty on DRAM ...

There were people buying broken DIMMS. The DIMMS moved to a different company name and were shipped out of Europe for a "replacement under guaranty" certificate. A crate of new DIMMS (different manufacturers and different sizes) could then be shipped in without paying import duty.

Hold on to your broken hard disks - their scrap value is about to increase.

SpaceX has a good day: Successful launch and FCC satellite approval

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Re: Block 4 is not completely dead yet

There are five block 4s left that could fly again. One new one launching TESS and landing on the 16th, three of the other four have missions planned (first is CRS-12 on the 2nd). Boosters for TESS and CRS-12 are expected to land. I do not know about the others.

There are two and a bit block 5s. First block 5 launch is no earlier than the 24th. There are no Falcon heavy centre cores, but one is scheduled to launch no earlier than 13th of June.

SpaceX probably run out of block 4s some time in June.

We have plenty of time to think of an insane payload for BFR's demo mission. My first thought was a fully fuelled Exploration Upper Stage (crew vehicle for SLS) but SpaceX are not set up to load liquid hydrogen and EUS probably won't be ready.

$0.75 – about how much Cambridge Analytica paid per voter in bid to micro-target their minds, internal docs reveal

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Re: Um, shouldn't that be filed under 'collusion' as well ?

Read up on Robert Mercer and decide if you and he are allies.

Donald Trump jumps on anti-tech bandwagon, gets everything wrong

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Re: Irony

There was an interview with one of Trumps accountants. He said that Frederick Trump's tax records were meticulous. Frederick could prove to the cent exactly how much tax he owed. Donald's were a mess. It would take a determined effort to prove anything one way or the other. Donald did not show any interest during the meeting, but Ivana had many questions.

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Re: Irony

Trump's tax avoidance strategies became publicly available during his election, but for some reason most of the press were distracted by some skilled attention seeker. For years, Trump paid hardly any tax (probably about 1%) because he was a real estate professional. Real estate professionals do not have to pay tax, but they have to spend 750 hours per year in the real estate business.

After Trump had campaigned full time for months in the primaries it became that even if he dropped out and spent the rest of the year buying, selling and developing property he would still not qualify for real estate professional tax avoidance. Gradually the story came out. Trump had lost such a huge amount of money in the real estate business that he could offset the losses against tax for years. He was in debt and such a bad risk that only bank that would lend him money was Deutsche Bank.

There are people out there who still think Trump much be a genius because he is so rich. If they catch on before the next election, the next US president will be Elizabeth Holmes.

Cambridge Analytica's daddy biz had 'routine access' to UK secrets

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Re: Well, I have been saying this for the last 5 days

Firstly the idea that the data was to big to fit in the office has been roundly thrashed multiple times be people with more experience with large databases than me. As an example, years ago I read that Google kept a fixed size record of 128KB per user because that is the maximum Intel DMA hardware could move in a single command and it kept things simple. 50million times 128KB is 6.4TB so two cost effective spinning disks, or one slightly overpriced one. That is OK for a backup, but for a live system you would want flash. You can get ten times that on a single PCIe card if you can justify the cost. Space is not an issue unless you have a ten minute high def compromising video on most of the 50 million.

Even if that is the case, the database is not the only evidence of interest. There could have been evidence that they collected the data legally for a specific purpose. There could have been correspondence showing what the data was used for, perhaps beyond what the three people who read the privacy policy expected. There could be records of sales data without restrictions on use.

Do you really believe the Cambridge Analytica executives were terrified of the ICO drinking their tea.

No Falcon Way: NASA to stick with SLS, SpaceX more like space ex

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Re: costs less to fly the same weight on BFR than Falcon 9

Actually Musk's claim was that it will cost less to launch a BFR than a Falcon 1. The first time I heard that I thought "What the Falcon?", stepped the video back and listened to it again. Not lower launch cost per kilo to orbit, simply lower total launch cost. I did a quick web search for Falcon 1, chose the most expensive launch and added a bit for inflation. Musk is aiming for a BFR launch cost under $10M. Over the next few days I saw other comments showing people were just as shocked as I was. It was not a mistake. Elon did not forget to say "per kilo".

If things go according to plan, you can put your falcon 9 payload in a BFR, add a Tesla Semi full of batteries for ballast, save $50M on launch costs and you get the Tesla Semi (with cargo) back on Earth. BFR will not be short of missions.

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Re: It's about pork

You need SLS to launch Orion because you need Orion to justify SLS. You need SLS to launch LOPG because you need LOPG to justify SLS. You need the ALSTAR act (pdf) to make Marshall Space Centre "essential to sustaining and promoting US leadership in rocket propulsion" because Alabama needs to assure its supply of pork.

I thought that the first crewed SLS mission would be delayed while the mobile launch platform for SLS block 1 got upgraded for SLS block 1B crew. Senator Shelby demonstrated outstanding pork farming skills by getting money for a second mobile launch platform. It must give everyone hope that pork for SLS missions will be found on top of pork for the SLS no matter what else has to be cancelled to make it happen.

No mere showman could ever demonstrate pork farming skills like that even if he has taken half the launch market and saved NASA millions on commercial resupply.

User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

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Re: my mistake

"It was not winter. Shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. People were travelling. Where does it say it was winter?"

My mistake, I thought Jesus being born on the same day has Santa meant it had to be Winter. I forgot that allowing for continental drift Bethlehem used to be in New Zealand.

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Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

I hear what you say -> I will ignore all you just said

With all due respect -> I suffer from acute Dunning-Kruger syndrome

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Re: ... depict a newborn surviving a snowy night ...

I just took a look at modern January temperatures in Bethlehem. Finally we have to proof we need to convince Christians of global warming!

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Re: T9 collisions

If you do not want to take any arcs from Microsoft's new fanned terms of service, you can safely take the pips and call someone a coal staler. Thus puppy pictures can enlarge you cell foe, topper. Take that, Microsoft dual gold echinus. (Sorry, I had to resort to /usr/share/dict/british-english-insane for that last one.)

Details of 600,000 foreign visitors to UK go up in smoke thanks to shonky border database

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Re: Biometrics and false positives

Try asking Jean Charles de Menezes what could possibly go wrong.

Java-aaaargh! Google faces $9bn copyright bill after Oracle scores 'fair use' court appeal win

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Re: Unix copyrights ...

... got off to a strange start because to begin with Unix was distributed as source code with no copyright notice. People fixed and improved it and some of those changes got back into what AT&T distributed. If there ever was such a thing as Unix copyrights, when AT&T was split up for abuse of monopoly the copyrights went to one of the fragments: Unix Systems Laboratories. USL promptly sued the Regents of the University of California because Berkeley Software Distribution distributed their own implementation of the Unix APIs. (USL wanted to abuse a monopoly in operating systems and lacked the brains to sue the correct organisation.)

USL proposed a settlement that had USL paying court costs, legal fees for both sides, giving up and going home with only a non-disclosure agreement to cover their embarrassment. They sold the Unix copyrights to Novell (who did not transfer them to SCO) and AFAIK the copyrights now belong to Attachmate. That did not stop the court appointed trustee for the bankrupt shell of SCO selling the Unix copyrights to some twit who probably believes he owns the Golden Gate bridge too. The intermediate court rulings from USL vs RotUC were later released as part of another case. The judge had ruled that header files were not copyrightable because they embody the API, not the implementation.

Oracle had the foresight to include some patents in their original complaint which gave the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit jurisdiction - even though all the patents were thrown out of the case early on for being irrelevant, invalid or both. Although copyright law is not really their thing, the USCAFC are good at ramming patent law down the throats of anyone doing anything innovative and as we have just seen, did not let established copyright law or findings of fact from two jury verdicts stand in the way.

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Re: Is it just API "theft" though?

Orlowski does not exactly have a reputation for fair and balanced reporting when it comes to Google (or even getting important facts right). If you want to understand what is going on, spend a day or two with Groklaw's thorough coverage - up until when Lavabit shut down to avoid having to provide a back door for the TLA's

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Re: Call me Bob and the desert my home

The API is the document that tells you things like the cos function takes one double precision floating point angle in radians and returns the cosine of that angle as a double precision floating point number. The API for a language is vital for programming in the language. Sun made it easily available, but I do not know the license they chose. Such a license would give or withhold permission to copy and distribute the API documentation.

The API is also an excellent place to start coding an alternative implementation of the language (life gets difficult if the original implementation does not match the API). Before Oracle, everyone knew that creating your own code to match API documentation was legal. It turns out some judges do not understand what an enormous bomb they have just detonated under the software industry. It is almost as if learning a little about software is not a requirement for making multi-billion dollar judgements about it.

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Re: So...

Changing the date and filing in a different location is sufficiently innovative for a patent.

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Re: Google knew all along that this was the likely outcome

Actually no. At the time everyone knew that Oracle were desperately trying to stretch and bend the law so they have some excuse for a case against Google's money. When they came up with "you cannot write your own code to be compatible with a published API" the only reason programmers were not shocked is because they expect this kind of rubbish from Oracle's lawyers.

Oracle did not create Java. Is was made by Sun. During Sun's death throws they tried to jump on the open source bandwagon. They released stuff under their own license (CDDL) that allowed anyone to contribute for free but no-one but Sun to profit. For some reason there were not swarms of developers rushing to work for Sun for free. Later Sun released Java under the GPL, so everyone and his penguin (including Google) had an explicit license from the copyright holder.

Oracle then bought Sun and hired David Boies so they could sue Google. (Yes that David Boies, the lawyer SCO hired to get $600 per Linux seat license fees for code that SCO were distributing under the GPL and nobody used.)

NASA stalls $8bn James Webb Space Telescope again – this time to 2020

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They could easily get funding to continue the project

Move it to Alabama.

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